What Can I Do With Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners can be a life changer when it comes to orthodontic treatment, but just because you don't have braces, this doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with them.
Below are our main DO's and DONT's of clear aligners.
DO: Eat anything you want
Because clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating the foods you love. Unlike braces, where you have to avoid many foods, from your favourite crunchy vegetables to pizza crust, you won’t have these restrictions with clear aligners.
DO: Remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat
Being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat has its advantages as well as its challenges.
But, you must fit your meals into the two hours that you can have your aligners off each day. Because they need to be worn for 22 hours every day, you’ll soon be scheduling your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink water while wearing your aligners
Though you shouldn’t eat or drink coloured food or beverages while wearing your clear aligners, you can drink water, which will keep you hydrated. This is important for your health, and also because clear aligners can make some patients salivate excessively.
DO: Change to your next set of aligners before bed
You may feel some minor discomfort for the first day or two when you switch to a new set of aligners, as your teeth shift positions.
While this is normal, it can still be annoying. One way to address this is to switch to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night, so you’ll sleep away those first few hours.
What Can't I Do With Clear Aligners?
There are a few changes and adjustments you'll have to make to your daily life during your clear aligner treatment. Here are a few little things you can't do with clear aligners:
Don't: Forget to wear your aligners
Your self-discipline and commitment to the treatment will be a huge part of your success with clear aligners. You’ll need to wear them for 22 hours each day for your treatment to work as prescribed and for your orthodontic issue to be successfully resolved.
So, don’t forget to put your aligners back in each time you take them out to eat, drink, brush, floss or do activities such as playing sports or practicing a musical instrument.
Don't: Clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste
You need to clean your aligners regularly but you shouldn't use a toothbrush and toothpaste as the plastic can be too harsh for your aligners. Instead, soak them in a special solution meant for clear aligners, or denture cleaner or rinse them with water.
Don't: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before each wear
Excellent oral hygiene is critical to your routine now - even more so that you’re wearing clear aligners, as any bacteria or food particles will be caught between your teeth and your aligners until the next time you brush.
That’s why you’ll want to brush and floss your teeth before each wear, and every time after you eat or drink anything other than water.
Don't: Drink coloured drinks while wearing your aligners
Coloured drinks such as pop, wine and fruit smoothies will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - yuck.
If you want to drink any beverages other than water, you’ll need to remove your aligners, drink up (keeping in mind your food and drink schedule for the day) and brush and floss your teeth before putting your clear aligners back in.
Don't: Skip check-ins with your dentist
It's important for your dentist to check on the progress of your shifting teeth, even if they don't have to tighten your aligner like braces.
These appointments will allow you to ask any questions you may have, address concerns about your treatment, and make sure you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time or adjust course if needed.